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Long enough for a bible, but not quite good enough
am 3. Mai 2000
This book tends to read at times as though it were longing to be classified as a science text. This is not necessarily bad. I found it very interesting to read about what makes a good pie crust: a low protein flour for tenderness, the proper fat blending technique to ensure flakiness, adequate chilling to ensure minimal distortion during baking, etc. She is very thorough and covers EVERY aspect of making pies and pastry. However, the results and the experience of using this book in the kitchen don't quite live up to the anticipation.
While the fillings are generally about as delicious as they come, there are a few serious errors (I was very careful about measuring and using an accurate thermometer, and the Lemon Merangue Pie still came out like Lemon soup, twice), and the techniques required to acheive these results can be VERY time consuming. If I'm going to spend this kind of time, the recipe better be accurate. In a similar vein, the recipes for sauces, ice creams, and danish produce wonderful results. But again, do not underestimate the amount of time involved in producing them.
The verdict on Rose's pie crust is more problematic. Have you ever tried kneading and pounding pie crust in a ziploc bag? Try it and watch everything stick to the inside; I don't care how cold she says it should be. It sticks and is a mess. Also, she seems to be striving for the ultimate in tenderness for her pie crusts. But using a combination of soft pastry flour, plus vinegar, plus baking soda, plus a two step blending technique (a technique which, minus the ziploc bag, can be very good) results in a crust that is, in my opinion, too tender. It loses some of the crispness that makes that makes pies, especially fruit pies, so wonderful. Also, watch out for that blending technique. If you pound a portion of the butter into the dough with a rolling pin like she says, unless you know what finished dough should look like, the butter pieces may very likely remain too large and will result in them separating out and melting during baking. Another disaster; trust me, it happened.
This is a good effort, but is only for someone who loves pies and pastry and already has a good knowledge of baking which will enable them to slightly modify certain problematic techniques and recipes.